Washing Raw Chicken Causes Food Poisoning

According to new studies by the Food Standards Agency, it has been deemed unsafe to wash raw chicken before it is cooked. Health experts claim that doing so could lead to food poisoning.

The Independent reported that washing raw chicken can spread bacteria to the hands, surfaces, clothing, and kitchen utensils through splashes. More than two fifths of people wash raw chicken before they prepare it, but the Food Standards Agency has announced that this practice needs to stop.

Food-born illness, or food poisoning, is usually caused by the campylobacter bacteria, which grows on raw meats. The Independent claims that our out of every five cases of food poisoning are a result of contaminated chicken, and washing the meat before preparation contributes to this. Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach pain, severe diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. These symptoms could start to appear two to five days after exposure. Usually, the illness is manageable, but it can lead to more serious health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

According to Medical News Today, the Food Standards Agency is also asking producers of television commercials to stop showing people washing raw chicken to keep consumers from imitating the practice. The chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, Catherine Brown, says that research shows people tend to wash their hands and surfaces after handling raw chicken–which is advised; but washing the raw chicken itself only helps to spread the bacteria.

“That’s why we’re calling on people to stop washing raw chicken,” Brown said, “and also raising awareness of the risks of contracting Campylobacter as a result of cross-contamination.”

Advising consumers not to wash chickens is not the only step the Food Standards Agency is taking. Brown claims they are also working with farmers and food producers to reduce contamination in poultry.

According to Chron.com, the bacteria that causes food poisoning can be picked up just by touching a packaged raw chicken at the grocery store. They advise you touch the meat with a plastic bag or glove around your hand. Washing the chicken before cooking, however, is unnecessary since the bacteria will be killed off during the cooking process anyway. The splashes from washing a raw chicken under tap water can spread the bacteria more than three feet.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid chicken altogether. Contamination can be controlled or avoided altogether. And chicken isn’t the only source of food poisoning, as The Inquisitr has previously reported.

[Image courtesy of The Independent]

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